If you’re the birth parent of a child in an adoption proceeding, you may be asking a vital question. What rights will I have after the child is adopted?
This post will discuss those rights.
First, two points about the scope of this article:
- This article will discuss the rights of a birth parent after adoption under Oklahoma law. While many states have similar laws regarding adoption, laws do vary from state to state. Consult a family attorney in your state for the most up-to-date information on adoption laws in your state.
- This article is not a complete list of all the rights of a birth parent after adoption. There are innumerable laws on the books. Moreover, it isn’t possible to list all the rights that a birth parent may have after adoption.
- This article will discuss rights that arise under state law. In the United States, there are two separate sovereign entities: states and the federal government. Under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, the U.S. Constitution, treaties, and federal laws preempt state law. So, if federal law recognizes a right that a state does not recognize, or if federal law conflicts with state law, federal law will control it.
A Birth Parent’s Rights
Some of the most important rights a birth parent has after an adoption include:
1. The Right To Agree On Visitation With The Child:
If a child has resided with a birth relative before being adopted, the adopted parents and the birth relative may agree to allow the birth relative to have continued contact with the child after the adoption. Moreover, if this agreement is in writing and signed by the judge in the adoption case, the agreement is legally enforceable.
2. The Right To Receive “Genetically Significant Information” About The Child
The law requires that, in every adoption case, a report on the child’s medical and social history be filed with the court. Additionally, if the agency or person who prepared the report has “genetically significant information” about the child, the agency that prepared the report must furnish this information to the biological parent.
3. The Right To Prevent The Adopted Child From Obtaining The Child’s Original Birth Certificate
If both birth parents sign an affidavit of nondisclosure, the state may not release the child’s original birth certificate to the child. If only one parent signs the affidavit of nondisclosure, the state may release the child’s birth certificate to the child, but the state must first delete the name of the parent who signed the affidavit of nondisclosure.
A birth parent who has signed an affidavit of nondisclosure may revoke the affidavit. If the parent revokes the affidavit, the state may release the child’s birth certificate to the child (although, if one parent has revoked the affidavit but the other parent has not revoked it, the state must delete the name of the parent who has not revoked the affidavit.)
4. The Right To Ask The Court To Vacate The Order
If there are grounds for the court to vacate its order, the birth parent may request that the court vacate the order. So, some of the grounds to ask a court to vacate its order are:
- Irregularity in the proceedings
- Misconduct or fraud in obtaining the order
- The verdict is not sustained by sufficient evidence or is contrary to the law
- Mistake in obtaining the order
- Unavoidable casualty or misfortune preventing you from prosecuting or defending
Moreover, a birth parent may not challenge an adoption decree on any ground more than three months after the decision.
The right to appeal the adoption to the state supreme court.
If a court has ordered an adoption against a birth parent’s will, the birth parent may appeal the adoption to the state supreme court. Moreover, to file an appeal, the birth parent must file a designation of record with the trial court. Also, within ten days after judgment.
The birth parent must then file a petition in error with the state supreme court within thirty days of the judgment. Additionally, in the state supreme court, adoption appeals have priority over all other pending cases. This means that adoption appeals are decided much more quickly than other appeals.
If a parent loses an appeal in the state supreme court, the parent may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if the case presents a federal issue.
The right to be informed of the birth parent’s rights.
Generally, the court must inform a birth parent what his/her rights are. If a birth parent voluntarily consents to an adoption, the court must inform the birth parent of the exact nature of his/her rights and the rights the birth parent is giving up by consenting.
If your child is about to be, or has been, adopted, you still have rights. In case you think someone violated your rights or you have questions about your rights, speak to an attorney.
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